NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ835624
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1946-7109
Re-Making the Incarceration-Nation: Naming the Participation of Schools in Our Prison Industrial Complex
Meiners, Erica R.; Reyes, Karen Benita
Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, v5 n2 Spr 2008
In this article, the authors seek to contribute to the growing engagement with the school-prison nexus by considering two, perhaps less obvious, factors that implicate schools in the business of the prison industrial complex (PIC)--the examples of gentrification and sex offender registries. By unpacking some of the rhetoric that surrounds gentrification and sex offender registries, this article works to explore new tentacles of the linkages between schools and jails. When "new urban pioneers" are flooding and buying up the "revitalized" cities, and the movement of global capital needs to be protected, schools and "new" educational policies become both sites and agents in these processes. In the face of labels of failure and "probation," schools are sites where gentrification and the global economy provoke dramatic changes. Schools also become agents as they are forced to position themselves either as appealing to gentrifiers and catering to the needs of the global capital, resistant to gentrification and the structuring of education by economics, or quickly fading from existence. The changing face of cities offers a vital, dynamic moment to examine the role schools play in constructing notions of dangerousness, sorting youth into positions in the new economy, including moving students away from educational environments and toward increasingly secure, penal-modeled institutions, and prisons. Exploring the efficacy of sex offender registries, the new "tough on crime" in the U.S., unearths important cultural anxieties about the racialized contexts surrounding childhood, and the work of schools to require and legitimate constructs that do not make communities any "safer." This article uses the creation of sex offender registries within the PIC to illustrate how schools naturalize the construction of "select" children as vulnerable and in need of protection requiring an increase in surveillance and policing, while other youth are systematically denied access to this category: innocence. Schools minimize or erase "real" dangers, and reproduce fears that legitimate the expansion of the PIC. Registries, with corresponding community notification laws, contribute to a culture of fear of "stranger danger" that can function to displace responsibility from patriarchy for violence against children and women. These registries actively participate in the reification of constructs of the child that both afford benefits and privileges to some children and not to others, and animate "artifacts" (such as vulnerability and innocence--also not available to all) that seemingly require the expansion of the punitive arm of the state. (Contains 5 notes.)
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A